Twenty second April, 2014 was more than just Earth Day for Junglistan. The most awaited 'Stand for forests! Stand for Mahan!' solidarity event was held in major cities of India on that very day.
Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai saw hundreds of people come together to show that they care for India's forests and for the rights of the people of Mahan. Here are a few excerpts about the event written by volunteers who attended the event in their respective cities.
23 April 2014
On the occasion of Earth Day, several young volunteers came together in New Delhi in a show of support to save Mahan forests in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. They were part of urban solidarity events organized by Greenpeace India.
Earth Day Delhi 2014 © sudhanshumalhotra/greenpeace
"The event in Delhi was held in a park in the quiet and serene residential colony of Press Enclave, Saket. I arrived around 45 minutes before the stipulated time just to witness the vigour and vitality with which the volunteers were working! Setting up banners, the registration counter, testing mics and videos and the enthusiasm with which things were being done made me more excited than I already was for the programme to commence!
The evening continued to be a lively one with music performances by Delhi based musical group 'Manzil Mystics'. Later , Calvin and his group had the whole crowd jiving to popular reggae songs during the candlelight vigil.
The programme concluded with everyone writing messages on postcards for the people of Mahan!" - Leema Rodrigues.
23 April 2014
Candlelight vigil in solidarity with the people of Mahanm during Earth Day at French Loaf, Bangalore
Earth Day Bangalore 2014 © Vivek Muthuramalingam
"The cosy courtyard at French Loaf in Richard's town was packed with people; so much so, that we had more people standing than on the chairs! People had come to show their support for a cause that threatened the lives of an entire forest full of trees and the livelihoods of several villages full of people.
A night that begun with beautiful light music from the band, Twisted Mischief, soon turned solemn as people started voicing their thoughts. We heard many touching tales from the activists who had visited Mahan about the scenario out there.
Nothing brings people together like a candlelight vigil. To me it depicts the strength of unity. The individual lights represent how small one person's voice may be but when brought together, many small specks of light can become a shining beacon. I hope that this beacon we have lit, lights a path for all the inhabitants of Mahan- the trees, the animals, the people." - Anuja Kandare.
23 April 2014
Earth Day Mumbai 2014 ©
"On hearing that Mumbai was going to have a candlelit vigil to express solidarity for Mahan, I had to be there to stand up for our forests! And thanks to the enthusiastic team at Greenpeace (including volunteers), the vigil was a real eye-opener!
After sporting mouth gags to revolt against Moily's colossal misjudgement and short-sightedness, we were shown insightful videos shot in Mahan. The shocking plight of the villagers who live without any electricity for 24 hours - everyday and the harsh truth that they may be robbed of their forest and homes, just so that the city dwellers like me and you have uninterrupted electricity supply, was not easy to digest.
The Earth Day evening ended on an inspirational note, after electrifying music performances and talks by environmental activists and volunteers who further bolstered the determination of everyone who gathered at the vigil.
It was heartening to see that us busy Mumbaikars, young and old, come together to protect and look out for the real treasures – our forests, our environment and the compassion in our hearts that make us human. Makes you realise - a savage is one not who lives in the forest but the one who destroys it." - Abhishek Raje.